2nd Quarter, 2006
Engineering Scholarship Winner
Bradley is currently a freshman at Penn State Behernd in the Plastics Engineering program.
A Portion of Bradley’s Winning Essay:
When I was beginning my high school career, my mother had several health problems that forced her to leave work. One of these problems was a minor stroke which took most of her sight as well as some fine and gross motor skills. Over time she has been able to recover most of the gross motor skills but the journey here has been long and toilsome.
I never would have guessed how much this single moment in time could and has changed my life when this first happened to my mother. Mom had to learn how to walk, to see differently and to express her thoughts all over again. Not only did my mother have to learn some basic elements of life that others take for granted, she took the time to teach me how to view the world in a new way and to take care of myself no matter what. She always worked with people who were differently able, but it is totally new when it is the one you love and the onset is sudden.
These past few years have held many challenges that I hope few people ever have to endure. How many would have the strength to watch as their most beloved family member struggled with even the simplest of tasks, such as eating. It took a very short time for Mom to be moving along on her long road to recovery but a long time for our family to accept the changes in how our lives had to be lived. Even now I sometimes have a hard time accepting that my mom can’t do even half of the things that she used to do. It’s times like those that I wish I could just bring my old mom back, but I wouldn’t trade the experiences that have brought my mother and I together for anything in the world.
As long as Mom has been disabled by her loss of vision, not to mention her other losses, she has been fighting for disability. She won her case only a few weeks ago. My mother goes through good days and bad, and yet she still finds a way to look on the bright side of things as much as possible. This lesson is hard to learn but well worth it in the end.
Because of my mother’s health issues, Dad and I have learned domestic skills that some men never learn. I can now stand on my own two feet and take care of my own needs. If things had been different, I would not be half the man I am today.
I don’t know what I’ll do when my mom is gone, but I know that from the lessons that she has taught me I will be fine. My faith has been very important in keeping me on the path of right. It has been the driving force that has helped me through hardships in life. I find that whenever I reach a seemingly impossible situation, if I take the time to stop and pray for guidance and strength the task becomes bearable. God answers prayers; if the need is there it might be right away, but sometimes the answer is no or not just yet. When God answers the prayers with “no”, it is time to rethink the situation. I have had to rethink several moments of my life and cope with the outcome, but that outcome is bearable because I know that because I listened to God, I am not alone in my travels down that road. Mom has shown me that in her struggles and her challenges by never loosing her faith and sense of humor. She can laugh when others would cry over her health setbacks and costs of continued medical care. She can continue to stay strong when Dad leaves for dangerous fire calls and knows how much her independent life depends on him returning safe, but she never shows concern– just keeps a faithful prayer that God will be with him and bring him home to her and me.
I have learned from this ongoing experience that life is very precious and shouldn’t be squandered. I know that any day I could come home and find that my mother has passed on. The real trick is to live each day to its fullest and never look back on what has happened in the past. My future plans include staying active in the church as much as possible while away at Penn State studying plastics engineering. Upon graduating from Penn State I plan to take Master’s level courses in the field of orthopedic prosthetics. I learned about ballistic plastic braces from watching Mom acquire and use her braces on her weak hand, dropped toe and diminished functioning leg while regaining the use of motor skills again. With the knowledge of prosthetics I will be able to help my fellow man regain mobility and use that knowledge to work on missions, as I am able. I take no part of the scout oath for granted especially living by “to help other people at all times.” This helpful spirit has shaped me into who I am today. This will also let me help someone like my mom in the future who may be another future Eagle Scout’s mentor. I hope to follow in Dad’s footsteps and take an EMT/ Paramedic course at school if it is offered so I can work either as a volunteer or as a paid medic while at school ,now that I am 18, to be able to help in that time of trauma until I get through the full schooling for my career choice.
Wise men through the ages have said, “With age comes wisdom.” For many this wisdom never comes, but for the lucky few, wisdom becomes a great burden. Some wisdom has to be learned first person, although much wisdom can be learned from others. In this way one person may be immortal by passing on their wisdom to others. Each experience is a ripple in time affecting everything henceforth. Wisdom may only take a small amount of time to give, but it makes a lifetime of difference. With wisdom comes responsibility. God has given me this life experience with my parents; they have given me inspiration by their life, action, and ongoing faith. It is my responsibility to take this knowledge and wisdom and act accordingly to further mankind and lessen suffering as a result of that which was given for me.
My parents have made me into the man that I am today not through words or by any special tricks but by living a life that has inspired me that no matter what we are dealt we can overcome. We can be the best people and still have pride in caring for those who are less fortunate, retain community pride, national pride, still be happy with who we are and proudly show who we represent at all times.
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